Bentwaters: Increased flying at former airbase could disturb area’s wildlife, say experts

Flown by Richard Grace and Dave Puleston, the two Pitts Specials of the Trig Aerobatic Team are based at nearby Bentwaters - GarY Stedman Flown by Richard Grace and Dave Puleston, the two Pitts Specials of the Trig Aerobatic Team are based at nearby Bentwaters - GarY Stedman

Tuesday, August 5, 2014
1:34 PM

Two of the county’s biggest wildlife organisations have expressed “significant concerns” over the potential impact on birds and protected habitats from proposals that could increase flying at a former Suffolk airbase.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

The RSPB and Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT) fear more flights at Bentwaters could increase disturbance to nesting birds, while the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB team also has strong concerns.

In a boost to campaigners, the organisations are calling for tight controls on the number of flights, restrictions on types of aircraft permitted, and no helicopters allowed as they cause the greatest disturbance to wildlife.

The AONB team and SWT have lodged formal objections to the new blueprint for Bentwaters – until their concerns can be adequately addressed.

Bentwaters Parks and Stansall Properties Ltd are seeking permission for 960 air movements a year – less than two flights a day – for a Spitfire, heritage aerobatic aircraft, some business flights, and an airshow.

The applicants say the aim is to regularise flying and not to greatly increase flights.

The RSPB though says while new documents show greater clarity regarding flights, and potential impacts on the Sandlings Special Protection Area, “some significant concerns remain”.

Conservation officer Jacqui Miller said: “We note that tenants at the site may change in future and that there can be no guarantee that the type of aircraft or their operators at the site would remain unchanged.

“We therefore recommend that the proposed planning condition should include a restriction on the type of aircraft, as well as the number of flights, and in particular that the site should not be used for the stationing of helicopters. This is because helicopters are recognised as likely to cause high levels of disturbance to birds.”

James Meyer, conservation planner for SWT, said the trust remained concerned about the control of the flying and the scale of any annual airshow.

He said: “It appears that appropriate mechanisms, such as planning conditions, could be used to provide tighter controls to help address the issues raised, however these are not currently present within the application.”

AONB manager Simon Amstutz said: “Our main concern is that of the potential disturbance to people and wildlife as a result of the application. Our concern is exacerbated by the proposed use of the site by aerobatic aircraft.

“In our view the only way to control the risk of increased disturbance is to control the number of flights and the type of aircraft using the site to a level which is deemed by the appropriate authorities to pose no risk to the purpose of the protected sites.”

Planning consultant Steven Bainbridge, of Evolution Town Planning, for Bentwaters Parks, said noise assessments submitted to Suffolk Coastal were based on worst case scenarios and not actual flying that would take place.

He said: “Military low flying in the area around Bentwaters is widely accepted as being far more frequent than the aviation activity proposed to be limited in this application. This is why the applicants firmly believe their proposals sit against an established background of wider aviation activity in the area and will have no significant adverse impact on tranquillity.”

22 comments

  • funny how wildlife always adapts to human interference but not the other way round..... there has always been wildlife around the airfields and always will be i believe the people who moved into the area from the larger towns and cities were led to believe the countryside is always quiet mmm who is more naive ..... it was far noisier years ago and the wildlife flourished ....

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    steveo

    Sunday, August 10, 2014

  • Newspapers should report the news,not the ones making it; as it seems to appear now.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    saxon

    Sunday, August 10, 2014

  • Oh and another small input, Richard, next time you write a story like this please get off your behind, leave your desk and get out and ask the people ( that is if your boss will allow it) and I don't mean the few that object to this, what they think. simply reading their response to your artical should give you some idea. Also have a look at the web site that supports this application, with over 5000 reply's this should also give you a good indication to what people think

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    thundercat

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • And of course we now have that large Osprey from the USAF base at Mildenhall flying over. now that is noisy. It has been noted that this paper gives more print time to the objectors and little to the majority in favour of these proposals. May I suggest that the editors of this paper have a look at the web site that supports these proposals, the last time I looked there was over 5000 supporting this application. That is unless there is someone working within the EADT who has a vested interest in stopping these proposals going ahead

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    thundercat

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • Why don't we have one of the Star's polls to show how few people have any concerns about the application. You could stop rerunning the story then.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Wednesday, August 6, 2014

  • Here we go again, yet more ignorant drivel, never seen it mentioned before about helicopters using it. No complaints about the helicopters of 21st air assault just down the road then,probably do not fancy taking the M O D on

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    saxon

    Wednesday, August 6, 2014

  • So yet again the story is recycled with the same concerns about the "potential impact" to wildlife. Correctly they identify helicopters as having a far bigger impact but choose to do nothing to stop the large numbers of military flights in the area. I can't understand why the Evening Star keeps reporting this nonsense.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Wednesday, August 6, 2014

  • Wildlife experts, what a joke !! There is more wildlife killed on the roads surrounding the airfield. I spent a lot of time at Bentwaters when it was a fully operational USAF airbase and wildlife flourished with Skylarks,Deer,Foxes,Rabbits,Hares etc all seen on a regular basis on or just outside the airfield, so one or two light aircraft movements a day will not have any effect on them (and i'm an expert !!). Better take a look at Swans,Ducks etc being disturbed by yachts on our rivers in AONB and increased traffic going to events at Snape concert hall all this month which will mean disturbance and death to wildlife on the nearby roads.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    milkyway

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

  • I heard from a reliable source the local residents are worried about the potential disruption to the community dogging club. The low flying planes and increased lighting apparently will affect the ambiance.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Rory Breaker

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

  • I used to live close to the USAF base at Lakenheath - there was plenty of wildlife in Thetford Forest - so how will a few propeller driven aircraft disturb the Bentwaters wildlife. As people have already said, it too, was a USAF base. Nimbyism at it best methinks.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Tractorboy

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

  • I don't honestly know how long these people have livedworked in suffolk but my 62 years probably beats them, and I have followed wildlife for 40 of those years in this area, what a load of old cobblers, don't they realise that 20 years ago the USAF had a major airfield here with flights day and night, and I can tell you that the decline in the wildlife in this area has nothing to do with airport activity, in fact I saw more birds when the USAF were here than I do now. The usual conservationist rubbish, without any real facts to back it up....i used to visit a site on the coast that the RSPB 'took over' some years back, and don't see anything like the number of birds or varieties that I used to there any more, so perhaps they should look in their own back yard...

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    rocknroll59

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

  • To be honest I got bored of reading this half way through as its the same BS all the time! They go on about "saving the environment" time and time again yet less than a mile away from the airbase in the village of Rendlesham they are building new houses near on every day and a lot of these have been on farm waste lands that nature used to love living in! I’m guessing that the councils can’t see a quick money earn from the airport so use the environment card to get out of it yet they will happily up-root several habitats to build houses on an already over populated village that’s more the size now of a small suburb of London!!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    ken85

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

  • So are they also going to ban the Suffolk flying Cop, Air ambulance and Air sea rescue Helicopters' that regularly fly at low level over the area and even... Shock... Horror... land!! I don't think any of these people have the slightest idea that airfields, due to not allowing people to wonder willy, nilly all over the place are in fact havens of calm for both nesting birds and other types of flora and fauna.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    kevinwj

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

  • I don't think that many of these objectors, either on behalf of wildlife or the housing occupants can have been long in the area or County. The flying noise during the USAF times was enormous, (heard even in Woodbridge when I was at school 50 years or so ago), yet there were no evident problems with wildlife. Indeed, the place teemed with it, as so much of it was "out of bounds" to but a few. The wildlife organisations have been going some time; I think even during the airbase days, yet I cannot recall this type of kerfuffle being raised by them then. Provided that the checks, safeguards and, most importantly, powers of enforcement without wiggle room or rights of appeal or recourse to law are in place to keep flying to the volumes and types of aircraft proposed, both now and in the future, then there's no reason to stop this plan.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    T Doff

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

  • Honestly, why do you write this rubbish! The wildlife has managed to survive in the area since the airfield was built in 1944. And there isn't going to be an increase in flying. How many times do you need telling!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    ghaynes

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

  • Such short site when the USAF left. We should be going on our hoilidays from Bentwaters, not Stanstead. Wonder how much Stansteads surrounding areas benefit from the airport? Millions of ££? The infrastructure would have been built along with any terminals etc, the 'locals'( I bet they've only moved to the area in the last 10 years) would'nt have even noticed the change!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Mike Derruki

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

  • It must be a really quiet day on the news desk to drag this story out, yet again !

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

  • True blue

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

  • Agree with comments above. Lets allow 8 flights a day and call it Ipswich Airport. It's a good job we have a transport infastructure already because we'd all be on horses and carts if the roads and railways hadnt alreday been built some 100 years ago. Nothing can ever happen now without the same old arguments. yes we need to see nature protected but you know what ? We also need jobs. Local jobs. Local airports save travel to non local airports that helps the environment no ? So lets see the council hear our comments here. More than two flights a day and let's see these places used for what they were built for. The planes that used to fly from there in the USAF days were incredibly noisy, much more so than anything that would be proposed now and a fraction of the number. Someone start a campaign for Ipswich airport ! Come on EADT ? Why not run this and let the people of Ipswich tell you what they think. ?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Howard Smith

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

  • Yet again,despite the continuing assertions,that Bentwaters Parks and Carolyn Grace,have no intention,commitment,or money to increase the flying activities at the above site,the anti brigade keep churning out the same misinformed,or mischievous ,arguments. Have any off them taken on board that the planning application merely wishes to formalise what has been happening for a few years. I think not !

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Tacr1

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

  • WHAT!! this is wildlife gone mad, yet again ridiculous attempts to explode the affects this small ask might do to the surrounding area. So we might as well ground ALL aircraft, stop All air shows and totally disregard all plane enthusiasts as we’re obviously the blight of all wildlife. Please put things into perspective, this was a massive airbase reduce to a minimalistic base for a few flights a day and some wonderful aircraft which have been about for years. I’ve been to Stapleford many times and seen the wildlife live side by side happily, in fact at times almost a haven for birds and other wildlife so you can’t BS me, sorry but again barking mad people making mountains out of molehills who have nothing better to do than scare monger. Diversity is not just for religion or race but for people who enjoy such things like aircraft, cars, trains, which creates great revenues for the country, when will you see this is good for the majority not the minority.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    newsaddict

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

  • Blah blah.. lets try and halt business progression and potential creation of jobs by using the wildlife card. This is an airport-airfield; use it as its intended a total waste otherwise and a very costly one.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Rory Breaker

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

loading...
iwitness24 Your news is our news Facebook Like your local paper Twitter Join the conversation Ipswich Borough Council

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT